poet, photographer, activist


Photo Credit Neil Graves

Vertical Bridges Photo Exhibit, Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh

Photo Credit Tre Bono


I'm a poet and photographer born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, a city with more public stairways than any other in the country.  Steps inspired me to return to photography after many years. I had studied it at San Francisco State University and was a reporter and photojournalist in the Bay Area, employing traditional darkroom methods to develop film and make prints. I’m fascinated with creating images of steps and stairways that feature a compelling pattern of the horizontal meeting the vertical, a spiritual journey to elevate ourselves, and a struggle to ascend the hierarchy of a stratified society.


My current body of work, “Vertical Bridges,” is photographed and altered digitally. It includes black and white close-ups that draw attention to the structures themselves and their architectural beauty as well as color landscapes that celebrate what I have come to see as vertical bridges.  Steps my grandfather, a stonemason from Sicily, built so steelworkers like my Calabrian grandfather living in the hills could walk down to the mill along the river and back. Steps as the first mode of public transportation in the city.


Along with archival photographs of Pittsburgh city steps, some of these photographs were published in my book, VERTICAL BRIDGES: POEMS AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF CITY STEPS and have been exhibited in LIBRARY GALLERIES  and THE HEINZ HISTORY CENTER in Pittsburgh. They include quotes that complement the photographs. “Vertical Bridges” is my first solo photography exhibit, which includes not only city steps in Pittsburgh but countries where I travel, most recently Turkey and Mexico.


I've also been experimenting with color collages of my city steps photographs that often include multiple frames of the same image along with geometric shapes to create a kaleidoscope of symmetrical patterns. As a member of the PARK SLOPE WINDSOR TERRACE ARTISTS collective in Brooklyn, I have exhibited these collages in open studios and galleries in Brooklyn. 

To purchase a photograph, please email me or for a price list and information for black and white photographs of city steps with quotes and color city steps collages. 

Vertical Bridges Exhibit at Heinz History Center

Vertical Bridges Exhibit  at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Oakmont

Vertical Bridges Exhibit at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-South Side, and  Facebook Page

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Copyright © 2020-2024 Paola Corso. All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Paola Corso

Photo Credit: Paola Corso

Photo Credit: Paola Corso

 Brady Street Steps, Oakland, Pittsburgh, 1907/Archival Photo in Vertical Bridges courtesy  of University.of Pittsburgh

Crooked Steps, North Side, Pittsburgh, 1934 /Archival Photo in Vertical Bridges courtesy of University of Pittsburgh

Milk Station, Hill DIstrict Pittsburgh, 1922/ Archival Photo in Vertical Bridges courtesy of  University of Pittsburgh

Paola with Sissy and Aunt Toni holding Vertical Bridges at Oakmont Library

Copyright © 2020-2024 Paola Corso. All Rights Reserved